Like so many of his other descriptive works, Sibelius’ symphonic fantasy was inspired by Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala. In terms of sheer orchestral opulence Sibelius never surpassed what he achieved in this score, evoking the vastness of the setting and the brilliant colours of Pohjola’s rainbow. Grieg is beloved for his lyricism which derives from Norwegian folk tunes and the Romantic tradition to which he belongs, and the striking, opening gesture of the Piano Concerto is perhaps one of the most recognisable in all of classical music. Based upon descending seconds and thirds, it is but one sign of how Norwegian folk music was making its impact on his emerging style. It continues with many attractive themes, a thrilling cadenza and much dazzling originality. Written at the height of the First World War, Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony is a tectonic musical struggle between the forces of destruction and the energy of life itself. It culminates in one of the most uplifting and thrilling of all symphonic climaxes.
Please note this concert is being livestreamed and some shots will include wide angle views of the audience.